Discover Benefits of Trademark Name in the UK
“I want to start a business in the UK, for which I have decided a name for my business, but I’m unsure of the legal protections for the business name I have chosen. Can a name be trademarked in the UK ? Does trademark registration prevent trademark infringement of business names ? Or, Will it provide any kind of help for the growth of my business ?”
What is a Trademark ?
What comes to your mind when you hear the words like “Apple” and “Amazon” ? Are you able to distinguish between these two names?
These two names are the brand names which offer certain goods and services, and you can easily differentiate between them because you know the goods or services they provide. This is what a trademark does.
To put it simply, we can say that trademark is a sign which is capable of distinguishing goods or services of one entity from another and also holds the capability for being graphically represented.
In the UK, provisions of trademark are governed by the Trademarks Act, 1994. Under Section 1 of the Act, trademark is defined as “any sign capable of being represented graphically and capable of distinguishing goods or services of one entity from another entity.”
If we see the definition of trademark, there are three main components which make a mark being called a trademark. These three components are:
The Mark Must be “ANY SIGN”
In the provision, the meaning of “any sign” is broad, and it includes words, numerical, letters, designs, symbols, and the shape or packaging of goods.
For example, in a case, Cadbury had applied for trademark registration of “purple color” of the packaging of its goods. However, Nestle opposed the application and said that the “purple color” does not constitute a sign, and it is not registrable under the Trademark Regime. The application therefore lacked the clarity of visual appearance, was against the principle of fairness as allowing the application would give Cadbury a competitive advantage but not to the other competitors, and was rejected.
The Mark Must be Capable of Being Graphically Represented
It is something which needs to be done practically. If a mark is not able to be represented graphically, then it would not be shown in the trademark registry, and it would create difficulties for other parties to know if there are any chances of trademark infringement.
For example, the trademark registry will not accept your application if you apply for trademark registration of a noise or sound in the form of visual representation, but they may accept it if you submit it in a MP3 file.
The Mark Must be Capable of Distinguishing Goods or Services
The most important condition is related to the goods or services of the mark. If a mark is not capable of distinguishing its goods or services from other competitors in the market, then it would qualify for trademark registration.
Can You Trademark a Name ?
The trademark law of the UK allows trademark registration of a name. However, the name should have any commercial use or have a distinctive nature.
Further, the name can be categorized in product names, business names, name of a person or surnames.
Some examples of product names are iPod, MacBook Air, iPhone, etc. are all products of Apple Inc. Similarly, examples of business names are McDonald’s, Apple Inc., Amazon.com, etc.
First names, surnames or both are permissible for trademark registration in the UK. However, It is important to note here that common surnames or geographical surnames like LONDON cannot be trademarked under the UK trademark law.
How Can a Trademarked Name be Beneficial for Your Business?
There are numerous benefits for registering your business name or product name as a trademark.
The Applicant Gets an Exclusive Right
If you trademark your business name, you get exclusive rights over it. You can use your trademarked name for all the goods or services that fall under the trademark class in which you have applied to.
For example, if you have applied for trademark registration under class 3 of Trademark classes, then you have the right to use the trademarked name for all the services mentioned in class 3.
You also get the right that no one else can use your business name whose work falls under the same class as yours.
Increase in Customer’s Trust in Your Business
You can improve your customer base if the customers know your business name through the goods or services you provide. If the business name is easy to spell and remember, then more people will know your business name and the quality of your goods or services, which eventually leads to improvement of reputation, trust and goodwill in the competitive market.
Always Try to Use The Symbol Alongside the Name
Adding a symbol ™ will enhance your chances to add more credibility and benefits to your business, but this can only be possible when you trademark your business name.
If you have added the symbol with the name, then the competitors will be aware that the business name is trademarked and hence reduces the chances of trademark infringement.
You create an Intangible Asset
Registering a business name as a trademark creates an intangible asset, as it comes under the Intellectual property rights. Having an intangible asset means you can sell, franchise, license or use it commercially for monetary benefits.
No Fear to Stand Out in the Market
Once you trademark your business name, you don’t have to fear the legal protection of your business name because you have registered the name as a trademark, and you can easily commercialize your products in the market without the fear of trademark infringement.
How to Trademark a Name in UK ?
Before applying for trademark registration of a name in the UK, it’s essential to follow some steps:
Conduct a Trademark Search
It is vital to conduct a trademark search in the UK Intellectual Property Office’s (UKIPO) database in order to know about the existing trademarked names. You can check it by yourself, but it’s advisable to take help of a Trademark Attorney, as he can conduct a deep search and produce the list of similar trademarks under the class you want to apply for.
Knowledge of Trademark Class
Applying for trademark registration involves the knowledge of Trademark classes. The trademark classes indicate the goods or services of the mark. There are 45 different trademark classes from which 34 classes cover the goods and products of the mark and the remaining 11 covers the services of the mark and this is known as Nice classification.
You can see the full list of trademark classes on the website of the World Intellectual Property Organization.
Pick Up the Right Trademark Class
When you trademark a name, it is essential to choose the right trademark class for your business name. Your business name would be registered in a specific trademark class, and you will be restricted to use the business name in that particular trademark class only.
Register a Name in the UK
Once you decide upon the name you want to trademark and the trademark class, you can apply for trademark registration.
You may register online through the UKIPO or you can use Form TM3 via post. Within two weeks of application, you will receive your report, and you have to respond to any objections raised within two months.
If there are no objections raised, then your application will get published in the Trademark Journal. Once the application gets published, anyone can raise objections to the application.
The overall process may take up to 4 months in case there is no objection.
More articles about trademark are available here:
How to Conduct a New Trademark Search in UK
How to Trademark a Logo Successfully in UK
To Sum Up
In business, names have a great deal of power. As a result, establishing ownership and rights to a business name is critical for companies who want to keep their names unique. As a firm grows, registering a trademark helps protect a name or brand from intellectual property theft or misuse.
LegaMart can ease up the process for you.